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Preservationists Want to Protect Coffee Shop Too

June 15, 1989|PHILIPP GOLLNER | Times Staff Writer

The organizer of a group asking that Los Angeles declare a Studio City carwash and gas station cultural landmarks will ask the city today to protect a neighboring coffee shop too.

Jack McGrath said Wednesday he will formally request that the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission consider a Tiny Naylor's restaurant for cultural landmark status as an example of distinctive 1950s coffee-shop architecture.

McGrath and representatives of five Studio City community groups previously had asked that the neighboring 1950s-style gas station and 60-year-old carwash be declared landmarks to stall plans by the property's owner to build a $15-million, two-story shopping center on the site at the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Ventura boulevards.

McGrath said he believes that the Cultural Heritage Commission, which considers preservation requests, will be more likely to grant historical status to the gas station and carwash if the popular coffee shop is included.

"It makes sense that we include all three of the structures," McGrath said. "Tiny Naylor's has as much relevance to cultural and architectural status as do the carwash and gas station."

Harry Prod, who bought the Tiny Naylor's chain in January, said he welcomes McGrath's proposal. "We're on a month-to-month lease, and we could be booted any time," Prod said. "If we have the opportunity of securing a long-term lease there, we're going to restore it to its original state."

Built in 1960, the restaurant is an example of the pop-modernist, "Googie" architectural style popular among Southern California coffee shops in the 1950s and early 1960s, Prod said.

Ira Handelman, a spokesman for the shopping center developer, declined to comment. "It will be up to the Cultural Heritage Commission to decide whether there is any merit to it," he said.

The commission is expected to consider the applications at a meeting on Wednesday, said Nancy Fernandez, commission executive assistant. If approved, the requests will be sent to the City Council's recreation, library and cultural affairs subcommittee before going before the full council for a vote, she said.

Buildings designated cultural landmarks are spared from demolition for six months to a year, Fernandez said.

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